The Cupcake Culture Wars

Michael Nagrant / 09.19.08

Bacon Top
I wrote a little ditty on bacon cupcakes from the new Gold Coast boutique, More, for Serious Eats this week. What I didn’t mention in the piece, is that while I love the bacon flight cupcakes, I’m a little more lukewarm on the big guys at More. The small cupcakes, being the size of Hostess minis, have a much better ratio of frosting to cake than the bigger cupcakes. Likewise the bigger cupcakes, while moist and well-flavored, are a bit dense, more muffinlike if you will. This may seem like a minor quibble, but as everyone has pointed out, charging $4 for a cupcake kind of takes the joy out of eating the things. What I will say is that I don’t particularly think the $4 is exorbitant, given the fact that the flavor combos like brie grape champagne and bacon apple cinnamon and salted caramel are unique and very well done. It’s not like you can walk in to Whole Foods and pick up a six pack of BLT cupcakes for $5. But, in a perfect world, the cupcake would be lighter and they’d be priced at $2.75. The other interesting thing here is that Bleeding Heart and Chaos Theory bakeries are offering some similar flavor combos in a similar price range. I didn’t ask, but I wonder if More is using all organic inputs like the Bleeding Heart folks. If not, that’s something to consider when you decide to patronize said cupcake boutiques.

Finally, the boutique itself: When I visited I was greeted by a Roshumba look-a-like Amazonian tall model-clerk pulling cupcakes from the imposing lucite and stainless cake display. You couldn’t see or smell a bakery anywhere behind the lucite. Again, I didn’t ask if the cupcakes were made offsite, but the whole vibe, plus the visible lack of a kitchen, makes you feel like someone’s going to break the news that much like Soylent Green, the cupcakes are made from people.